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When Customers Don't Show Up


Ferhat Yalcin
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mad.gif Im really sick of this idea people have.
You beg for a reservation and dont show up.
I understand the excuses (real ones) but do you not have the guts at least for a phone call to cancel the reservation ?
Im sure alot of people in this business will agree with me.
Dont wanna come , reach the phone.

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Im really sick of this idea people have.

You beg for a reservation  and dont show up.

I understand  the excuses (real ones) but do you not have the guts at least for a phone call to cancel the reservation ?

Im sure alot of people in this business will agree with me.

Dont wanna come , reach the phone.

Lastnight we had 20 dipwads who couldn't be bothered with calling in and cancelling. The real issue is that there were 20 other people who would have loved to sit in those chairs and stuff themselves with good food and wine. I am glad these people are so self important that they can treat the lowly people who are trying to give them a good time as not worthy of their meerest efforts at common courtesy!

Hey Don... How about a private topic for restaurants to post no shows with names and phone numbers?

Edited by deangold
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Hey Don... How about a private topic for restaurants to post no shows with names and phone numbers?

I understand your frustration, but posting names and numbers is really a horrible idea. Even if you use the number that you see on caller ID there is no way that you can be sure that the person is who they claim to be. Do you really want to be on the wrong end of a defamation suit because you posted someone's name in error?

Edited to correct my poor spelling.

Edited by Sthitch
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Hey Don... How about a private topic for restaurants to post no shows with names and phone numbers?

What a perfectly horrendous idea. You have such a system already, it's called open table. Plus, I'm sure that Don would love to get sued by the first person to claim that they're on that list unjustifiably.

Furthermore, let's go ahead and blow up this website by creating two classes of member.

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I thought the no-show issue was why many restaurants require a deposit to secure a reservation for NYE. Why would anyone object to laying down a deposit, say$10/head? If they plan to honor the reservation, the deposit will be credited against their bill. If they call and cancel, they get their money back. If they fail to cancel, they forfeit. Doesn't seem unreasonable to me.

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Im really sick of this idea people have.

You beg for a reservation  and dont show up.

I understand  the excuses (real ones) but do you not have the guts at least for a phone call to cancel the reservation ?

Im sure alot of people in this business will agree with me.

Dont wanna come , reach the phone.

Well, here's a thought which I believe should be more widely disseminated: You know all those CHAINS which don't take reservations (Olive Garden, etc.)? They don't have this problem! Do we want MORE of these places? No, we do not. But, it certainly makes more economic sense to not even bother with reservations when you know people will wait a ridiculous amount of time to eat mediocre food. How much time will people wait for the really good stuff?

Otherwise, require a credit card and charge for no-shows. At least the waitstaff will get a cut, instead of being completely out of their tips.

The other alternative is to put these people on the the Worldwide List of People Who Need To Be Slapped In The Face. Athough there is apparently no money to be had here. :)

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Hey Don... How about a private topic for restaurants to post no shows with names and phone numbers?

I've thought about it, and in fact posted right after Ferhat did (but decided to delete my own posting). It said:

There's got to be a way to warn other restaurateurs about these self-entitled little twits. As far as I'm concerned, if diners can critique restaurants, then restaurants should be able to critique diners.

Rest assured, they dined somewhere in the city last night, having made multiple reservations.

I'd say "name names," but they probably used a fake name and number anyway.

Take credit cards and nail 'em if they don't call to cancel.

But, as other people have since pointed out, it can't be wise to name names here, because there's no way to know if these harmonic disturbances used a fake name. Nevertheless, know that I sympathize, am open to suggestions from restaurateurs on how to go about doing this, and would love to find a way to cauterize these intestinal polyps to prevent them from ever doing this to anyone else.

Cheers,

Rocks

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I agree with the comment that if we as customers have the right to critique restaurants, then the restaurant in turn has the right to critique us. The waitstaff depend on tips to earn money, and the customer should be held accountable if they do not have the decency to call and cancel the reservation.

I admit that I am essentially repeating comments that have been made in previous posts.

Thank you.

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But, it certainly makes more economic sense to not even bother with reservations

Actually it makes more sense to continue to take resrevations. If I know how many persons can be expected on a given evening it allows me to schedule my staff and order product more efficiently and saves me a ton of money. The WAG method hurts more than you might believe,

Also, reservations often indicate a restaurant of higher quality, thus separating themselves form the chains of the world.

NO shows suck, I hope they never ever have a good meal again, ever.

Luckily, we only had two on NYE.

PS

A throng of people backed up at the host stand and strewn about benches outsde of a restaurant awaiting a table, a la Chainback Steaks, is really unaesthetically pleasing.

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corduroy required a credit card number on new year's eve. do no-shows contest the charge? is this an administrative headache?

According to my agreement with my provider, I can only use the credit card for providing actual goods & services. This leaves openb the question of chargebacks. I would need to send a form and get the customer's signature back to have any leg to stand on. Without a swipe of the card, there is a good chance I will lose any dispute. A chargeback takes me time to process, and asking the 19 people who reserve and show up to fax me an agreement is a lot of work to punish the one who doesn't show up. Not to mention the bad will it may cause those customers who would never dream of no showing.

I can just imagine the difficulty of proving that a reservation was not cancelled. The customer, who remember has made a reservation and not shown up for it, will just lie to the cc provider and say "Oh I called and left a message on their phone." There is no way I can prove otherwise.

Fighting a chargeback required me digging out the original sales slip. Since this happend usually 30-60 days after the charge is incurred, there is a hassle factor. I guess I would file all this info separately if I was going to actually charge no shows for ease of future reference. Lastly, if I do incur a chargeback, there is a fee associated with the chargeback.

The point still remains: it is a sad commentary on today's world that some adults think themselves so self important that they behave in this manner. How a business chses to deal with it aside, it is the no shows who are boors and imposing costs on the rest of you fine folk who keep your word.

I am a person who stongly believes in my word. I cannot remember a time where I deliberately did not follow thru on something I have said I would do. If I forget something, I take it on myself to make amends. I don't wait for the world to punish me for my lapse.

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The point still remains: it is a sad commentary on today's world that some adults think themselves so self important that they behave in this manner.  How a business chses to deal with it aside, it is the no shows who are boors and imposing costs on the rest of you fine folk who keep your word.

I am a person who stongly believes in my word.  I cannot remember a time where I deliberately did not follow thru on something I have said I would do.  If I forget something, I take it on myself to make amends.  I don't wait for the world to punish me for my lapse.

where i come from, adults commonly lie and cheat, so it is hardly surprising to me that they are dismissive about their restaurant reservations. however, if you can't enforce charging no-shows, requiring credit card numbers doesn't seem to be the right approach to solving this problem.

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corduroy required a credit card number on new year's eve. do no-shows contest the charge? is this an administrative headache?

it seems to me, and this may be totally out there, but perhaps some restaurants take credit card numbers not intending to ever charge no-shows, but simply as a deterrent.

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Well, here's a thought which I believe should be more widely disseminated:You know all those CHAINS which don't take reservations (Olive Garden, etc.)? They don't have this problem! Do we want MORE of these places? No, we do not. But, it certainly makes more economic sense to not even bother with reservations when you know people will wait a ridiculous amount of time to eat mediocre food. How much time will people wait for the really good stuff?

Perhaps these chains answer their guests needs in a more satisfying way than the aren't-we-so-superior-to-the-rest-of-the-world-why-don't-they-worship-us-for-the-greatness-we-are-how-dare-they-inconvenience-us? restaurants that so dominate the DC scene.
At least the owners and managers of these chains don't seem to need a website to whine about their clientele or trot out daily examples of their boorishness and ignorance.

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Perhaps these chains answer their guests needs in a more satisfying way . . .

Of course they do . . . they are CHEAP and the mediocrity of the food is unvarying from place to place.

Plus, they have no need to whine about no-shows because there is no such thing in a place which doesn't take reservations.

Seriously, though, I appreciate learning from the other side of the hostess stand. And, reading waiterrant has certainly turned me into a bigger tipper! :)

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As opposed to...OVERPRICED and mediocrity that varies based on sex, color, dress, ability to locate Sienna on a map and appearance of wealth/power?

Can you elaborate? It seems that you are taking your fellow restauteurs to task for complaining about the no-shows and the subsequent problems they cause. Plus, you seem to be saying that the restaurants involved in this discussion on this site overcharge for their food and are mediocre to boot. Surely that's not your intention.
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Can you elaborate? It seems that you are taking your fellow restauteurs to task for complaining about the no-shows and the subsequent problems they cause. Plus, you seem to be saying that the restaurants involved in this discussion on this site overcharge for their food and are mediocre to boot. Surely that's not your intention.

I do think it is in very poor taste, and does not project a sense of hospitality, to complain about your clientele in a public forum outside of your restaurant. (A disagreement with a guest's or individual's comments concerning your restaurant made in that public forum is different).

No-shows are to restaurants what fleas are to dogs.

In no way did I state or imply that any individual restaurant in this discussion is overpriced or mediocre.

I did state that these packed chain restaurants, whatever evil they represent to the sophisticated palate, satisfy their clientele's needs successfully and honestly. I do not believe that the average diner should be looked down upon.

I do believe that the DC dining scene is rife with overpriced restaurants that are mediocre and inhospitable to guests. Generally these restaurants do not come under discussion here, but they do represent the fine dining experience in the minds of the dining public.

My daily experience is that the vast majority of the dining public--maybe not the dining elite found here, but the rest of the world--approaches the restaurant experience with trepidation, anxiety, intimidation and fear--more often than not justifiably so. That is a fact that fine dining restaurants, not chains, have created by overt inhospitality and intimidation. As an operator, much of my guest involvement is to counter the received expectations caused by this lack of respect for the guest, an onus that I quite frankly resent.
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My daily experience is that the vast majority of the dining public--maybe not the dining elite found here, but the rest of the world--approaches the restaurant experience with trepidation, anxiety, intimidation and fear--more often than not justifiably so.  That is a fact that fine dining restaurants, not chains, have created by overt inhospitality and intimidation. As an operator, much of my guest involvement is to counter the received expectations caused by this lack of respect for the guest, an onus that I quite frankly resent.

I don't agree with everything that you wrote above but this is spot-on. Bravo.

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My daily experience is that the vast majority of the dining public--maybe not the dining elite found here, but the rest of the world--approaches the restaurant experience with trepidation, anxiety, intimidation and fear--more often than not justifiably so.  That is a fact that fine dining restaurants, not chains, have created by overt inhospitality and intimidation.  As an operator, much of my guest involvement is to counter the received expectations caused by this lack of respect for the guest, an onus that I quite frankly resent.

And I'm trying my hardest to raise my children to not be intimidated or anxious in restaurants. And I think Michael will attest that I am having some success with the effort.

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How about this?

For Friday and Saturday nights and those other special even days (Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, New Year's Eve...) do the things that were suggested above - the call-backs for confirmation, keep a waiting list, etc.. but how about also having a 15 minute "grace" period for losing your table. If you reserved for 8:00 and your asses aren't in the seats by 8:15 then you lose your reservation? I know it's a juggling act for the restaurant staff, because you have people who call to say that they are running late, and parking can be impossible in some areas, but if someone isn't willing to work with the restaurant to ensure that they have the experience that they want, then they ought to be subject to losing out on their neglected promise.

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I do think it is in very poor taste, and does not project a sense of hospitality, to complain about your clientele in a public forum outside of your restaurant.

They're not your clientele until they show up like they fucking said they would.

And most dogs don't have to suffer with fleas, because their owners remorselessly poison them. No-shows please take note.

Edited by Stretch
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They're not your clientele until they show up like they fucking said they would.

Actually, your clientele extends far beyond guests-in-house. Your clientele includes not only your guests and guests with future reservations (to whom you have in effect already made promises) but also: all residents and/or workers, implicitly, in the immediate area which you have consciously selected as your place of business--the more high-profile the location the more this is true--and whom you have chosen, and whom you depend on, as neighbors; anyone who has come in contact with your marketing and publicity efforts; and, in fact, the entire demographic and socio-economic classes to whom you pitch your endeavor and hope to attract--whether they have visited your restaurant or not, they are your clientele, and you chose them.

Edited by Michael Landrum
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According to my agreement with my provider, I can only use the credit card for providing actual goods & services.  This leaves openb the question of chargebacks.  I would need to send a form and get the customer's signature back to have any leg to stand on.  Without a swipe of the card, there is a good chance I will lose any dispute.  A chargeback takes me time to process, and asking the 19 people who reserve and show up to fax me an agreement is a lot of work to punish the one who doesn't show up.  Not to mention the bad will it may cause those customers who would never dream of no showing. 

I can just imagine the difficulty of proving that a reservation was not cancelled.  The customer, who remember has made a reservation and not shown up for it, will just lie to the cc provider and say "Oh I called and left a message on their phone."  There is no way I can prove otherwise.

Fighting a chargeback required me digging out the original sales slip.  Since this happend usually 30-60 days after the charge is incurred, there is a hassle factor.  I guess I would file all this info separately if I was going to actually charge no shows for ease of future reference.  Lastly, if I do incur a chargeback, there is a fee associated with the chargeback.

The point still remains: it is a sad commentary on today's world that some adults think themselves so self important that they behave in this manner.  How a business chses to deal with it aside, it is the no shows who are boors and imposing costs on the rest of you fine folk who keep your word.

I am a person who stongly believes in my word.  I cannot remember a time where I deliberately did not follow thru on something I have said I would do.  If I forget something, I take it on myself to make amends.  I don't wait for the world to punish me for my lapse.

Is a restaurant's arrangement with Visa/MC/AMEX/etc different than hotels - if you no-show on a guaranteed reservation at a hotel, you'll get billed (or at least, that's the threat, usually I'll call beforehand) for that one night. In Vegas, they even bill you the first night when you make the reservation, to be applied to your final bill or refunded when you cancel on a timely (48 hour) basis.

OpenTable regularly asks for credit cards for large reservations - and clearly states what my penalty is if I no-show. This happened to me one time - DC closed a 2-block radius near the restaurant I was going to for a suspicious object and was evacuating all the buildings - so needless to say I didn't make it and couldn't reach anyone at the restaurant..... I called later and ensured with them I wouldn't be charged and I wasn't , but it did still show up as a no-show on OT.

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I do believe that the DC dining scene is rife with overpriced restaurants that are mediocre and inhospitable to guests.  Generally these restaurants do not come under discussion here, but they do represent the fine dining experience in the minds of the dining public.

My daily experience is that the vast majority of the dining public--maybe not the dining elite found here, but the rest of the world--approaches the restaurant experience with trepidation, anxiety, intimidation and fear--more often than not justifiably so.  That is a fact that fine dining restaurants, not chains, have created by overt inhospitality and intimidation.  As an operator, much of my guest involvement is to counter the received expectations caused by this lack of respect for the guest, an onus that I quite frankly resent.

I don't consider myself one of the "dining elite" but I do eat at fine restaurants on occasion. It has been my experience that the better establishments do not overtly or otherwise try to be inhospitable or intimitating. In fact they are more likely to go out of their way to make sure that I enjoy my entire experience. I never "no show" and always call to cancel or if I used OT, cancel on OT. I do not have a problem with call backs or with restaurants asking for a credit card to ensure a reservation. It certainly isn't fair to the restaurant to make a reservation, and thus keep someone else from being able to use that time slot, and then not show up. Doctors and dentists charge if you don't show for your appointment, hotels will charge for the first night if you don't cancel, etc. Why should restaurants be any different?

As to the restaurant owner complaining about a generic problem on this forum, why not. It is one thing to name a name, something else entirely to complain about a constant problem. Restaurant owners and workers have as much right to kvetch here as the rest of us.

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This:

They're not your clientele until they show up like they fucking said they would.

And most dogs don't have to suffer with fleas, because their owners remorselessly poison them. No-shows please take note.

Is I think what Michael stated so well here:
My daily experience is that the vast majority of the dining public--maybe not the dining elite found here, but the rest of the world--approaches the restaurant experience with trepidation, anxiety, intimidation and fear--more often than not justifiably so. That is a fact that fine dining restaurants, not chains, have created by overt inhospitality and intimidation. As an operator, much of my guest involvement is to counter the received expectations caused by this lack of respect for the guest, an onus that I quite frankly resent.

I'm a pretty darn-well experienced diner, and I'd never dream of intentionally or carelessly pulling a no-show, but Stretch's perspective intimidates and quite honestly scares me. It is precisely the attitude that makes me hesitate to try new, high-end places and brings into high relief the difference between the restaurant world and the professional world. Have any of the other office drones here ever publicly threatened to poison the guy who didn't show up for that important meeting? Not while on your meds...

And incidentally, of COURSE restuarant people have as much right to kvetch as anyone else. But they should also be aware that they're not doing so anonymously and that their opinions reflect on their establishment.
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  Restaurant owners and workers have as much right to kvetch here as the rest of us.

All right then, I'll get in the spirit of things and complain about a no show. First I should say that Ray's has very very few no shows/no calls, maybe one party every third day (the exception is in the period directly following a mention or review in the Post or the Washingtonian when a whole demographic who is not my clientele absolutely has to have a table at 7:30 on Saturday night which they then do not particularly feel the need to honor--and my no show rate increases by a factor of 10), partly because we call all of our reservations who have not confirmed their reservations that day.

For those of you who think that we do not spend enough time answering the phone, that takes about two hours a day--time that I otherwise could be taking reservatios and handling other guest requests. If I did not call to confirm, I would probably have about 15-20 (covers) no-shows a day, or about 10%. But I avoid that by doing the necessary work. No credit cards, no charges, no contracts.

OK, so back to my no show. Three weeks before the Rammy awards the assistant to a very important, very high-placed figure at RAMW called to make a Saturday night reservation for his boss. Now I should mention one thing about RAMW--I have never joined because I do not agree with their agenda or way of doing business, and I do not believe that I am a part of the segment of the industry they represent. I especially do not like the fact that they do not waive membership fees for new restaurants under say, 100 seats, which is something they would do if they truly meant to support the industry, or that they do not seek to indentify struggling restaurants and make efforts to market and assist them, things they freely do for the already successful coterie of players. Two weeks before the announcement of the 2005 Rammy nominees, I get a message from this powerful and important person saying, "Congratulations, you've been nominated for a Rammy, don't tell anyone because it is a secret, the nominations have not been announced yet. The only problem is that you are not a member and only members can be nominated and we've already printed the announcements so we'll both look bad if you don't join." Hmm. (The previous year they had asked me to join, when I had been open over two years, saying that if I joined they would make sure I was nominated for Best New Restaurant. Hmmm.)

She wanted 7:30, we had 6:30, the assistant booked the table. Thursday before the reservation she (the important person, not the assistant) called to try to change the reso to 7 or 7:30, which we could not do. Saturday, no confirmation and the number we called to confirm, the assistant's office voice mail, natch. We left a message. 6:30? No call, no show, no nada. Courtesy call on Monday from her or her assistant to apologize? Nada.

Do I feel better for bitching? Have I helped my public persona? Have I somehow made me or my restaurant more appealing to someone reading this who may not know me or the restaurant first-hand, say a casual visitor to this forum? No, no, and probably not.

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We do call and confirm our reservations the day or morning before. We do take credit cards and charge no-shows. We do work the phone.

And yet, stories like these are more common than I would like.

It's 1 pm on January 1st, a New Year Day's brunch shift. My eyes need to be propped to stay open. This fantastic bit of scheduling is what I get for talking crap online.

It's not too terribly busy but a few large parties are on the book. This means that tables have been set, waiters are waiting, and kitchen has prepped accordingly.

At 1.30 pm, half an hour past the reservation time for a party of 8, I telephone the contact number. When he picks up, I can smell his hungover breath on the other end of the line.

"Happy New Year. Are you planning to make your reservation?"

"Really?" he says. "What time is it now?"

"It's 1.30, half an hour past your reservation time."

"Nah, we're not gonna be able to make it."

"Thanks for letting us know!"

An hour whizzes by and yet another party of 8 isn't in a hurry to show up. Digits are dialed.

"Happy New Year. Are you planning to make your reservation?"

"Ahahahaha, we actually wouldn't, we were going to call you." (When?)

"Thanks for letting us know in advance!!" - sarcasm on.

And this reminds me of another story of a guest who no-showed for a reservation once. On her next visit, she located the manager and complained about a "rude" call from a hostess who told her to let the restaurant know of her plans.

"I'm an adult and shouldn't be told what to do...by hostesses, no less."

After that, I resolved to add the following optional features to my calls to no-shows: 1) exaggerated foreign accent, 2) mandatory use of "ve have vays of marking your record, and 3) USSR anthem playing in the background.

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After that, I resolved to add the following optional features to my calls to no-shows: 1) exaggerated foreign accent, 2) mandatory use of "ve have vays of marking your record, and 3) USSR anthem playing in the background.

Hey I heard Osteria di Galileo is hiring! :)

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You can always charge the credit card on file and hold a gift certificate in that amount at the restaurant for the no-show to come and pick up. You have, at this point, provided goods and services that have not been redeemed.

I did this years ago when I was GM at Olives. Most of the gift certificates go unused and sit in the safe. For the credit card chargebacks I received letters on, I would fax a copy of the gift certificate and the credit card receipt (noted with "credit card number authorized by phone") to the credit card company and let them know that the gift certificate is still on site awaiting a pickup. I would then ask for the credit card holder's address so I could mail it to them.

According to my agreement with my provider, I can only use the credit card for providing actual goods & services. This leaves openb the question of chargebacks. I would need to send a form and get the customer's signature back to have any leg to stand on. Without a swipe of the card, there is a good chance I will lose any dispute. A chargeback takes me time to process, and asking the 19 people who reserve and show up to fax me an agreement is a lot of work to punish the one who doesn't show up. Not to mention the bad will it may cause those customers who would never dream of no showing. 

I can just imagine the difficulty of proving that a reservation was not cancelled. The customer, who remember has made a reservation and not shown up for it, will just lie to the cc provider and say "Oh I called and left a message on their phone." There is no way I can prove otherwise.

Fighting a chargeback required me digging out the original sales slip. Since this happend usually 30-60 days after the charge is incurred, there is a hassle factor. I guess I would file all this info separately if I was going to actually charge no shows for ease of future reference. Lastly, if I do incur a chargeback, there is a fee associated with the chargeback.

The point still remains: it is a sad commentary on today's world that some adults think themselves so self important that they behave in this manner. How a business chses to deal with it aside, it is the no shows who are boors and imposing costs on the rest of you fine folk who keep your word.

I am a person who stongly believes in my word. I cannot remember a time where I deliberately did not follow thru on something I have said I would do. If I forget something, I take it on myself to make amends. I don't wait for the world to punish me for my lapse. 
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You can always charge the credit card on file and hold a gift certificate in that amount at the restaurant for the no-show to come and pick up.  You have, at this point, provided goods and services that have not been redeemed.

I did this years ago when I was GM at Olives.  Most of the gift certificates go unused and sit in the safe.  For the credit card chargebacks I received letters on, I would fax a copy of the gift certificate and the credit card receipt (noted with "credit card number authorized by phone") to the credit card company and let them know that the gift certificate is still on site awaiting a pickup.  I would then ask for the credit card holder's address so I could mail it to them.

That's admirably devious!

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OMG--- tonight I received a phone call from a restaurant for which I have a reservation during RW. Well, not only were they confirming five days in advance, they told me I had to give a credit card to maintain my reservation. The request took me aback. If the requirement had been set out on the OpenTable system when I made the reservation, I probably would not have for my own personal reasons not that I plan on canceling my reservation.

The caller was a bit rude when I said I was not comfortable giving them my information considering the reservation was made without the requirement. During the course of our conversation she told me that so far 15 reservations have been cancelled on account of the request. Now there are two ways to look at the cancellations (1) the people who made them were eventually going to cancel or (2) the people cancelled because of the request. I have friends going with me on Friday so I didn't cancel. I reluctantly gave the caller my credit card number but regret doing so...

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If a restaurant called me out of the blue and asked for my CC number I would be more than suspicious. Call me paranoid, but I would hangup and call the restaurant back to verify that they did need my CC. If I were you, I'd check my CC statement.

OMG--- tonight I received a phone call from a restaurant for which I have a reservation during RW. Well, not only were they confirming five days in advance, they told me I had to give a credit card to maintain my reservation. [...] I reluctantly gave the caller my credit card number but regret doing so...
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I NEVER give my CC number out to somebody who calls me out of the blue. Or, sends me an email. When I made an Opentable ressie with Corduroy for NYE, it was part of the site that I had to give it up because it was NYE. No problem. I consider this the same as the fake emails I get from "PayPal." Whenever I get one of these, and I do often, I just forward it to spoof@paypal.com. It always turns out to be a phony phishing thing.

Coupled with the thread about the cost to restaurants for using CC or Debit Cards, can we have a consensus that using CASH is the ethical way to pay for our meals--particularly at the places we just adore?

Personally, I would be happy to have a restaurant call to confirm my reservation. At least I know they have it!

(and it's not exactly 'out of the blue')

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It's out of the blue as you have no way of determining if it's the restaurant or someone who got a hold of the restaurant's reservation book. I more than likely would say that I would call them back and do so in the next 5 minutes for the number that I have for them. One other thing that I do in situations like this is to create a limited-time credit card number. A number of credit cards have this feature I believe, mine from MBNA (CC is now owned by Bank of America I believe) does. Basically you go online and generate a CC number, an expiration, and a limit. When you use this CC number if goes directly to your actual CC but basically you are limiting the length of time the CC number can be used and the amount that can be put on it. My primary purpose to use it in the past was for trial memberships for whatever online. I'd put the limit at $1 or $5 or whatever the trial cost and then if I didn't want to continue using the service they couldn't "accidently" forget to cancel the service and charge me.

At this point the CC number that the restaurant couldn't really be used to charge you if you don't show up... of course the very fact that you were willing to go through the couple extra minutes to do this means you'd probably show up anyway :-)

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